December 27, 2011 – Mount Lokon Erupts in Indonesia: One of Indonesia’s most active volcanoes erupted Tuesday (December 27th), spewing clouds of ash and panicking villagers. The first eruption at Mount Lokon was at 3:07 am (19:07 GMT Monday), followed by two more bursts within minutes. The eruption was heard in nearby villages, causing panic among villagers living close to the volcano. Two villages with about 10,000 people each have been affected by the ash, which stopped later in the morning. More than 5,200 people were evacuated to temporary shelters when the 1,580 meter (5,182 feet) volcano erupted in July, sending huge clouds of ash as high as 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) into the sky. Lokon’s last deadly eruption was in 1991, killing a Swiss tourist.
The Indonesian archipelago has dozens of active volcanoes and straddles major tectonic fault lines known as the “Ring of Fire,” between the Pacific and Indian oceans. The country’s most active volcano, Mount Merapi in central Java, killed more than 350 people in a series of violent eruptions last year.
Indonesia is home to some of the most catastrophic events on the planet. The December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami killed 230,000 people world-wide.
However, Indonesia has some of the world’s most active and deadly volcanoes on the globe.
On April 10, 1815 there was an explosion of the Tambora Volcano on Sumbawa Island which was thought to be extinct. It was the strongest volcanic explosion since the Lake Taupo eruption in 180 AD in New Zealand. The eruption began on April 1st. At 10:00PM (local time) a cannonade boomed out like peals of distant thunder. It was repeated until 9:00AM on the April 2nd. On the morning of the 3rd, a light fall of ashes began; on the 5th, explosions began to be heard every 15 minutes.
The eruption reached its peak on the evening of the 10th, when a colossal pillar of smoke rose above the volcano and the entire mountain seemed to eject flame. Soon the volcano was hidden in a dense cloud of smoke.
The sound of the explosion was so loud that it was heard 1,200 miles away. The air wave uprooted trees, destroyed the walls of homes, and bowled over people and animals.
Scorching hot slag and ashes covered all of Sumbawa Island and a sizeable water area. Buildings collapsed under this load. The previously picturesque island was turned into a desolate desert. Of 12,000 residents, only 26 survived. On neighboring Lombok Island, the depth of the layer of ash was almost two feet deep. A similar layer of ash was floating at sea west of Sumbawa Island on the 12th. On Java Island, the ash fall was so dense that complete darkness set in. On the 10th, with still weather, the sea off the Coast of Sumbawa Island suddenly rose to a height 11 feet. Large waves burst into the estuaries of the rivers and immediately surged back. Homes and trees were washed away. All the boats were torn from their anchors and tossed onshore. The coast at the Tambora volcano subsided so that water 20 feet deep appeared on land. Mount Tambora eventually killed over 90,000 world-wide and created the “Year without a Summer” in 1816.
The Master of Disaster